I've invited Sarah from EarlyBirdMom.com to take over the blog for today! I ran across her blog a few months ago and was immediately impressed with how much she was able to accomplish on her blog while also caring for her children. Until this year, she homeschooled them, so she definitely has plenty of experience getting work done with little ones at home all day. Since my daughter was born seven months ago, I've experienced firsthand the challenge of making time for work while caring for a baby, and I definitely haven't mastered it nearly as well as Sarah. If you're considering starting your own home business but wonder how you can find the time, you'll definitely want to read what Sarah has to say.
Have you wanted to start a business working from home, but were not sure how you could work it out while still taking care of your kids? You may feel like you're maxed out just keeping up with your kids and the laundry and wonder how on earth you'll find time to spend on a business.
But with a little creativity and flexibility, it can be done.
3 key points about working from home with kids
- You have more time than you think.
- You'll be happier (and more successful) if you get some help.
- Your kids (babies included) do not need to be entertained all the time.
Here are some tips on scheduling time to on a home-based business.
Before you go any further, grab this simple work-at-home hours planning worksheet to help you brainstorm.
If your kids are in school, this is prime productivity time.
Once they're out the door, be prepared to hit the ground running. This may mean doing a weekly review planning session in advance, ignoring the sink of dirty dishes til later (yep, totally recommended!) and not answering the phone (unless it's business, of course).
Time available: up to 6 hours a day (maybe only 2.5 for kids in half-day kindergarten). This time alone can potentially add up to 30 hours a week.
If you have a baby or little kids at home, you'll have to get a lot more creative with your time.
Communicate with your family.
Step one is to let your family know what your plans are. If they hear how important your business is to you, they'll be better prepared to support you.
Ask if they are willing to schedule some of their time to support you on a regular basis. My friend's husband takes her boys every Saturday morning so she can grab a couple extra hours to work. It's special quality time for the boys and their dad and uninterrupted work time for her.
Block out what time you will have to work.
Does your child go to bed early, nap reliably, or sleep late? Plan to use these times as productive work times.
Do you have any regular childcare during the week? Add that to your plan.
Hiring a mother's helper or a babysitter for a few hours a week may just save your sanity. Back when my kids were little, those hours with a babysitter were my most productive hours. I didn't want to waste that investment and I made sure I was working hard while she was there.
Add in some play alone time.
Now that you've identified some uninterrupted hours, you'll probably find you still need to work some more time into your plan. The good news is that kids can actually play by themselves without needing mom or dad, even for longer periods of time, if you teach them how, and help them build up gradually.
For years, my kids knew that the time after lunch was quiet time which meant that mom was working. They played quietly in their rooms, reading books, listening to CDs, doing puzzles, etc. They came out of quiet time refreshed and I (usually) had some reliable work time.
What about all the household things that just can't wait?
It's an unfortunate fact of life as a mom that there will always be more things to do. Housework beckons, kids get sick, dinner has to be served. Our tasks usually expand to fill our available time.
There isn't an easy answer to this issue; just that you have to set priorities and plan out what you want to accomplish. If you spend some time doing this, you'll find yourself able to accomplish a lot more of your goals than if you just do the next most urgent thing.
I use a different kind of to-do list to help me stay on track with my tasks and goals (get your free printable here).